Enthusiast compact camera roundup (2013)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10
20MP 1" BSI CMOS sensor | Full sensor movie output | 24-200mm equiv. F2.8 zoom
What we like:
- Fast, long zoom lens
- Very good image quality, especially with Raw
- Top-notch video quality and features
What we don't:
- Disappointing JPEGs
- Manual zoom/focus ring can frustrate
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 takes the 1" sensor from the RX100 II and puts it into a somewhat bulky camera with a very impressive 24-200mm lens with a continuous F2.8 maximum aperture. The combination of the larger-than-average sensor and this fast lens allows for shallow depth-of-field and low light performance which eclipses that of other super zoom cameras. Add in an impressive LCD and EVF, fast continuous shooting, Wi-Fi, and arguably the best video quality and features on the market, and the RX10 is a compelling (but expensive) camera.
"Low light performance which eclipses that of other super zoom cameras"
The RX10 is a large camera, yet it still fits comfortably in your hand. While there's only one custom button, functions can be assigned to numerous other buttons, as well. The RX10 has a ring around the lens that can handle both zoom and focus, though the variable speed can be frustrating when manually focusing. While it's a capable still shooter, the RX10's most noticeable feature is video. Sony has provided plenty of tools for recording it, including focus peaking, zebra, silent aperture/focus controls, and manual audio level control.
The RX10's image quality is significantly better than other superzoom cameras, even comparatively large-sensor models such as the Olympus Stylus 1. As with other Sony cameras, the JPEG engine isn't the best-in-class, so you may want to shoot Raw for best results. Video quality is the real star, because the RX10 samples the entire sensor, instead of line-skipping - giving some of the highest resolution we've seen - though the codec isn't as good as it could be.
Overall, the Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 fills a unique niche, for people who want a camera which can take quality stills and even better video - and are willing to pay a premium for it.